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The General Public
A number of copyright-related myths and urban legends have circulated on the Internet; they are sufficiently widespread that some of the industry trade associations have taken steps to debunk them.1 In the world of digital music, for example, some misconceptions include the claims that the absence of any copyright notice on a Web site. or on a sound file (commonly an MP3 format file) indicates that the recordings or the underlying musical composition have no copyright protection and are freely available for copying; that downloading a copy for purposes of evaluation for 24 hours is not an infringement; that posting sound recordings and other copyrighted material for downloading is legally permissible if the server is located outside the United States because U.S. copyright laws do not apply; that posting content from a CD owned by an individual is not an infringement; that downloading sound recordings is not an infringement, and so on.2 As discussed in Chapter 2, the extent of the unauthorized copying of copyrighted material posted on the Internet and the apparent ignorance of the rules of copyright are particularly compelling in regard to digital music files.3
Other misconceptions concern print, graphics, or other visual content. Some of these are that if the purveyor of the illegal copies is not charging for them or otherwise making a profit, the copying is not an infringement; that anything posted on the Web or on a Usenet news group must be in the public domain by virtue of its presence there; that the First Amendment and the fair use doctrine allow copying of virtually any content so long as it is for personal use in the home, rather than redistri-